Like many other business processes, printing has gone to the cloud. Use this four-step selection process to choose a cloud printing solution that will deliver the most benefits to your organization.

The emergence of cloud computing in recent years has helped organizations large and small to reduce hardware and IT costs while improving service quality, accessibility, and security across a range of business functions.

Enterprise cloud printing offers the same benefits, and with 48 percent of businesses indicating that paper remains important to their daily operations, there’s little wonder why more organizations are looking to the cloud to improve their print environments.

However, not all enterprise cloud printing solutions are created equal. Consider these four key points of comparison when evaluating cloud printing providers.

1. Security

Security is becoming an increasingly critical issue for organizations across the globe, and the print function is not immune to security breaches. In fact, 60 percent of organizations reported at least one print-related data breach in the past year.

Unless your organization is willing to put considerable time and resources into creating – and protecting – its own private cloud, your print data likely travels through the public cloud where it may be vulnerable to cyberattacks.

When selecting a provider, ensure they have security measures in place that, for example, require a user authentication mechanism such as a badge or card reader. Also give extra marks to providers who offer single sign-on (SSO) or identity management (IdM) for user authentication.

2. Cost

Reducing printing costs – including hardware and IT support expenditure – is a key reason why many organizations are turning to enterprise cloud printing solutions.

However, while cloud printing providers will take the burden off your IT team and free up resources to invest elsewhere in your business, there are a few important things you should consider when it comes to cost.

When choosing a provider, ask them about how they reduce unnecessary printing through a rules-based print policy or other print reduction strategy. They should also offer managed device consolidation to streamline your print environment, and a transparent billing structure with predictable costs.

3. Accessibility

Another important benefit of an enterprise cloud printing solution is the greater accessibility to print services it offers your people. To get the most out of your cloud printing implementation, ensure your provider offers mobile and BYOD support so your team can print from any device they choose – whether they are in the office or out on the road.

Also look at how each provider supports scalability and how they will ensure accessibility across your organization in times of rapid growth.

4. Data reporting

Data is the new lifeblood of 21st century businesses, and enterprise cloud printing has the potential to connect you with valuable data-based insights into your print environment.
While many providers do offer data reporting, it remains a developing space in the enterprise cloud printing field.

Talk to your shortlisted providers about their reporting functionality. Do they offer centralized reporting with predictive monitoring that provides your organization’s decision-makers with better visibility into print usage?

Cloud printing can significantly reduce your printing costs while improving security, accessibility, and data reporting. Put some time and effort into selecting the right provider and you’ll reap the benefits sooner rather than later.

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